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Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Day The Elf Stood Still

We realize Veteran’s Day was Friday but we wanted to say from our little Elfin heart and soul how much we appreciate our veterans…those with us still, those whose sacrifice was the ultimate one and those who have been called home to finally rest. Pre-retirement and Elfinery, we had the honor of visiting many a veteran as part of our work. What a joy, privilege and delight it was to sit with and listen to the men and women who dug in when times were unimaginable, who gritted out conditions we could not fathom and whose power generated a beacon of freedom that no country has yet to equal. Once again, thank you.

Our FatFree Vegan Kitchen recipe for the week reached back into Susan’s older files and it was a lovely ‘early FFVK’ recipe. http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2006/04/hasty-tasty-pasta-with-broccoli-olives.html
(As a quick aside, one of the hallmarks of Susan Voisin’s site and recipes is the inclusion of nutritional values at the end of each recipe. While many food bloggers and recipe builders eschew adding the serving sizes and nutritional values, many folks follow the intake of specific things like sodium, fat, calories, sugar, carbohydrates and possibly others. This particular recipe did not include the values, so we KNOW it was an early one.). So, here we go with the Elfin version of Hasty Tasty Pasta with Broccoli, Olives and ‘Chicken’.

In a similar situation as Susan, we really needed to use up some whole wheat thin spaghetti, so that’s what we used rather than the rotini she recommends. Since the pasta cooks rather quickly, we watched it carefully and added the broccoli earlier so it would cook before the pasta cooked past the al dente stage. We love it when it’s that really bright green and not all mushy.
Since we knew the pasta would cook quickly, we sautéed our ‘chicken’ strips before starting the pasta.
Now y’all have been around the Kinky Elfery Kitchen long enough to know that we SWEAR by The Gentle Chef’s plant-based ‘Chikun strips’, so we keep a ‘batch’ of it on hand at all times. (We’ll share the link to his site at the end of the recipe description). Next up, we turned out attention to the flavorful sauce with pine nuts, garlic and olive oil. We sautéed the garlic and added the pine nuts
and then added some of the pasta water and then added the other spices/herbs (basil, red pepper flakes, freshly ground black pepper and a tiny bit of salt) stirring until slightly thickened.
This was poured over the pasta and broccoli, the ‘chicken’ strips were added along with the black olives, tossed around and served up.
We both had two servings with plenty to have for a couple of lunches during the week. We also think that this recipe would be just as good using small green olives as well…along with some fresh lemon juice. Might give it a touch more of a Mediterranean flavor.
So, our recipe for the coming week will be a potato dish called Potato ‘Gatto’
Looks like really good comfort food for the week of our probable first frost of the year.
As for The Gentle Chef (TGC), aka Skye Michael Conroy, the site will give you a taste of how he prepares plant-based meats such as the ‘chikun’ we discussed as well as plant-based cheeses that look delicious (we’ve not yet reached the level of expertise/patience to even TRY these, but we will!). Enjoy both his new website and his Facebook page.

Our other adventures this week have centered around baking cookies for the Crossroads Café, making at least two ‘family’ sized batches of the aforementioned TGC Chikun, vegan pimento cheese (goes great on baked potatoes), and a gargantuan ‘mess’ of the rice paper bacon. It’s great to take to restaurants for a salad topping or baked potato topping.  A bag o’Bacon!
We discovered some square rice paper at Mr. Chen’s Grocery (YAY!!) so we won’t waste so much using the round ones we found at Kroger.

WE LOVE MR. CHEN’S!! We also found some high quality soy sauce to try.
AND, we also found that using a paper cutter thingie to make quick work of the rice paper slices makes a semi-labor intensive elf-fort a lot less so. Last week, we’d said we would NOT use a cookie sheet to bake the ‘bacon’ and we didn’t. Turned out a LOT better and easier to cook when we just used parchment paper.

We also had an opportunity to enjoy another chopped salad at Subway as we ventured to visit Big Solid’s sister in north MS. We tucked away some shredded cheese and left over plant-based taco crumbles and enjoyed a great vegan lunch on the road.

Your Elf got a sweet, thoughtful and fun 'happy' kitchen towel from her friends Jody Donald and Kenneth Leggett, striving plant-based wannabes! It speaks for itself and we LOVE it! Thanks guys!
We leave you this week with a journey of sorts. The home and land adjacent to our house has been vacant for several years. We were recently able to purchase this lovely property by partnering with our neighbors. This week saw the demolition of the home that provided great memories for the family who grew up there in the 60’s. We hope to develop and maintain our portion of the lot as a green-space and bird sanctuary for the magnificent trees and birds that live in them. 
Before...
During...
And After!
We’ll keep you updated on that progress as we are quite excited about it.

So, 'til next week, laugh a lot, do a kindness or many, eat plants and DO EPIC.

Your Elf.

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